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Vacation rental technology: How to build your perfect tech stack
Use tech solutions to streamline ops and delight guests
Finding success in the vacation rental industry today means one thing: Technology.
In a perfect world, a guest books online and receives an instant confirmation email with everything they need to know.
Their background is verified digitally, and when they arrive, they get straight in using a keycode sent in advance.
If they need help, they message you or consult the digital guidebook sent to their phone.
You now have the time to offer them a tailored dinner recommendation, delighting them with a personal touch.
When they check out, the keycode changes for security. They’re sent a review request, increasing the chance of a positive rating. Staff are notified that cleaning is needed—even in the event of a late check-out, or new last-minute booking.
That’s the power of the perfect tech stack. And if you’ve read this far, you know you need one. But where to start? What tools are best? How do they connect?
There are so many options, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you. These tools below make that lean vision a reality for your short-term rental business.
Ready to build the perfect tech stack? Let’s do it.
Read other chapters in The Reservation Recession.
The vacation rental technology you need to optimize operational efficiency
Leveraging a tech stack like a million-dollar vacation rental company means you can focus ON your business instead of getting caught up IN it.
You can finally scale sustainably and see consistent growth. Plus, each tool below connects via a single dashboard, enabling you to manage operations at a glance.
The 7-step guide to the perfect tech stack
Let’s take a look at these 7 tools.
- Property management system (PMS) and channel manager: Hostaway
- Digital check-in: Operto Guest
- Access management: Operto
- Smart locks: Yale
- Task coordination and cleaning: Operto Teams
- Revenue management: Wheelhouse
- ID verification: Autohost.ai
1. PMS and channel manager: Hostaway
Short-term rental expert Jasper Ribbert, of Get Paid For Your Pad, says “there’s no such thing as the perfect property management system…
“But what you CAN do is find a PMS that meets MOST of your needs and integrate it with other software, building a tech stack that works for YOUR short-term rental (STR) business.”
- Reservation management and multi-calendar syncing
- Online payments
- Award-winning customer support
- CRM and lead management for future marketing
- Occupancy reports and analytics
- API connections that sync details across all channels
- Control over rates, content, amenity listings, images, and reviews
Hostaway PMS and channel manager integrations
Major OTAs including Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, and Expedia
Guest communication tools including Operto Guest and Wishbox
Payment tools including Stripe
Cleaning management platforms including Operto Teams
Dynamic pricing platforms including Wheelhouse and PriceLabs
What existing users say about Hostaway
“We found Hostaway to be the perfect option for our property management side of the business. The Hostaway team went above and beyond…
They are constantly working to streamline the program for property managers in terms of calendar updates, and updating listings. They’ve been great to work with.” – Kim O, property manager of 20+ properties
“Fabulous product with all the necessary features. Great customer support.” – Zalman
“Hostaway has been crucial to the growth of my business. Hostaway is an asset to my business and its robust platform allows me to manage a huge segment of it. Also, their customer support is top notch and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a channel manager.” – Drew
2. Digital check-in: Operto Guest
An integration partner of both of the above (and this entire list), Operto Guest is a powerful guest communication and access app that works via a smartphone browser, with no separate download required.
It takes over where your PMS ends.
Operto Guest features
- Customizable with your own logo and colors to build your strong brand
- Mobile browser-based web app
- Security verification
- Access code control
- PIN and mobile key enabled
- Digital check-in and check-out
- Auto translation
- Two-way messaging
- Multimedia house manual
- Local interactive guidebook
- Noise monitor connections for peaceful units
- In-app promotions for revenue-boosting upsells
- Customizable to individual units
Operto Guest integrations
- PMS including Hostaway
- Smart locks including Yale
- Thermostats including Ecobee
- Noise monitoring with NoiseAware
“AUTOMATE but don’t COMPLICATE… don’t be distracted by bright shiny objects if they do not bring value to your business” – Julie George, Million Dollar Host
Keep your rental guests happy and simplify your business with Operto Guest.
3. Access control: Operto Tech
Embedded within Operto Tech and Operto Guest is a central part of the perfect tech stack: the ability to control access to your units remotely, enabling secure rentals and easy check-in and check-out.
Operto access control features
- Automatically generated access codes for secure, keyless entry
- Digital check-in and check-out
- Enhanced digital verification
- Comprehensive activity logs to monitor access
- Mobile key
- Temperature and energy control
- Noise and occupancy monitoring
Operto access control integrations
- Smart locks including Yale, Nuki, Igloohome, August, and Salto
- Guest experience app Operto Guest
- Task coordination platform Operto Teams
4. Smart locks: Yale
As a leading brand of lock known the world over, Yale has brought its trusted technology to the new generation of smart locks. Keyless access via smartphone and keypads makes it a standout choice for your super-connected tech stack.
Yale smart lock features
- Guest self check-in
- Access control for guests and cleaning staff
- 24/7 history of access to your locks
- DoorSense technology to check doors are locked
- Grant access to infrequent maintenance staff via one-time codes
- Wide range of Yale smart lock designs, with and without key backup
- Plus, with Operto integration with Yale, also enables automatic keypad code generation for each new guest or user, and unique codes that work for each stay duration and change automatically on check-out
Yale smart lock integrations
- Yale Access app
- Operto Connect
What existing users say about Yale smart locks
“Bought this for a communal door at the property I manage. It’s great and really simple to use and install.” – P.A. Stafford, property manager
“Works perfectly. Had these Yale locks for over three years now. You can set 24-hour codes and it’s simple to program. I don’t understand why they haven’t replaced old-fashioned locks completely.” – Mark
“I’ve been using these for a few years in my Airbnb. They’re an absolute lifesaver. Mega reliable and easy to program and operate. Well worth the money and a brilliant device.” – Airbnb host
5. Team scheduling: Operto Teams
Coordinating staff and admin tasks such as cleaning and maintenance can be one of the most stressful, logistically-challenging aspects of running a vacation rental business.
Operto Teams enables you to automate everything digitally, so you can get more done in less time.
Operto Teams features
- Automated task scheduling and prioritization
- Real-time alerts
- At-a-glance dashboards
- Auto-generation and assignment of tasks
- Personalized portal for team members
Operto Teams integrations
- PMS including Hostaway, Hostfully, and Guesty
- Guest communication apps including Operto Guest
- OTAs including Airbnb, Vrbo and Booking.com
What existing users say about Operto Teams
“Every once in a while, someone comes up with software that makes a difference in our vacation rental management world. Operto Teams is one of those products.” – Dan Eby, owner of Destination Leavenworth
“I own and manage my own vacation rental and my cleaning company started using this tool a few months ago. It has been great to no longer have to send them my booking dates, and now I can see exactly when they have serviced the property.” – Dave B
“Operto Teams collectively summarizes your tasks and workforce in an easy to use and broad view format.” – Matt A, CEO
“Lean can still be good on operations and you need to look for tech partners that have the right integration partners to help streamline your team’s workflow” – Wil Slickers, Hospitality.FM
Keep your team lean and organized and get more done in less time with Operto Teams.
6. Revenue Management: Wheelhouse
Building the perfect tech stack may be a strategy to help you scale sustainably, but that’s only possible if you carefully manage revenue, and ensure your rentals are priced competitively at all times.
Enter Wheelhouse, a dynamic pricing platform that can help you earn up to 40% more from your rentals.
- Competitive pricing balancing occupancy and revenue
- Customizable rates based on season, last-minute discounts, and unit amenities
- Automated pricing based on more than 10 billion data points
- Up to 240 price changes per year compared to the usual 1-4
- Price changes synced across channels
- Performance tracking across listings
- Insights and reports on bookings and pricing changes
- Insights into 540 markets across six continents
- PMS including Hostaway and Hostfully
- OTAs including Airbnb and TripAdvisor
- Guest communication tools including Operto
What existing users say about Wheelhouse
“As a father of 3, I don’t have time to babysit my calendar as well. Wheelhouse alleviates that burden because it’s smart and prices it automatically. Now I can just set it and forget it.” – Vineet, host of three listings in Austin, TX
“We’re no longer spending a few hours in front of the computer tinkering with our prices every day. Now, we can control all 10 properties in just a few minutes.” – Luis and Tati, property managers, Orlando, FL
7. ID verification: Autohost
Operating “hands-off” is a key advantage of vacation rental technology, but that doesn’t mean accepting a lack of security.
That’s why Autohost – which screens rental guests for everything from previous bad reviews to criminal records and fraud risk – is a crucial part of any tech stack.
- AI to analyze each guest to assess their risk level
- Background checks to search criminal records, and trafficker and drug databases
- Sex offender record search
- Credit and financial checks to avoid chargebacks and risk of fraud
- Security deposits and damage waivers
- Digital contracts for legally-binding rental agreements
- Personal data collection to verify the guest on the day of check-in
- Automated messaging to enable verification
- Reporting to meet required regulations
- PMS including Hostaway and Guesty
- Payments including Stripe
- Property automation platforms including Operto
What existing users say about Autohost
“The Autohost team is professional and adaptable to our needs – they have become an invaluable partner to us for automated screening.” – Mint House
The perfect tech stack: Greater than the sum of its parts
Centralizing your tech stack—via a platform such as Operto Connect—is the best way to ensure operational efficiency of your vacation rental business.
When each element of your stack can be monitored via a single dashboard, you achieve an even greater time saving and an improved ability to scale your business sustainability, without adding extra time or stress to your workload.
From the perfect PMS, a streamlined channel manager, digital access and check-in, task coordination, revenue management, and security screening, each element creates a super-efficient whole greater than its parts, for vacation rental success that can grow to even greater heights.
“Don’t get sucked in by unnecessary shiny new toys. Ask yourself, do you really need this? Is it relevant to your unique operation and resources?” – Damian Sheridan, Book Direct
View all your operations via a single dashboard. Run your rentals more efficiently and harness the power of the perfect tech stack with Operto.